As the year draws to a close, astute investors recognize that December is not just a time for festive celebrations but also an opportune moment for strategic financial maneuvers. Here's a concise guide to some key actions for the month that can not only benefit your wallet but also make a positive impact on any charitable intentions as well.
1. Tax Harvesting: Cultivating Savings
Tax harvesting, the strategic selling of investments to offset capital gains, is a savvy way to minimize your tax liability. Assess your taxable (non-retirement) portfolios for gains and losses as we wind down the year. You can counterbalance gains by strategically selling underperforming assets, reducing your overall tax burden. Did you sell a rental property this year? Remember that both capital gains and any previously accumulated depreciation will show up on your 2023 tax return. If you don’t have enough losses to offset your realized capital gains, you can also consider deferring all or part of the gain by investing in an opportunity zone fund. Make sure you speak with an advisor to review your options.
2. Maximizing Retirement Contributions: Investing in Your Future
I’m sure you know this, but it bears repeating. Don't miss out on the opportunity to beef up your retirement savings. You could increase your 401k contribution up to your very last paycheck of the year to maximize your contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts before year-end. This not only helps secure your financial future but also offers potential tax benefits, giving you a double win as you build a nest egg for the years to come. The 401(k) contribution limit for 2023 is $22,500 for employee contributions. If you're age 50 or older, you're eligible for an additional $7,500 in catch-up contributions, raising your employee contribution limit to $30,000.
3. Making Charitable Donations: Spreading Wealth, Creating Impact
'Tis the season of giving, and making charitable donations is not only a heartwarming gesture but can also be financially strategic. Consider setting up your own donor-advised fund for a more structured approach to giving. Gifting appreciated stock can also be a tax-efficient way to support causes close to your heart while potentially providing additional tax deductions.
4. Health Insurance Review: Navigating Open Enrollment
Open enrollment season is upon us, presenting an opportune time to review your health insurance plans. Evaluate your coverage needs for the upcoming year and explore the benefits of a Health Savings Account (HSA) for potential tax advantages. Taking a proactive approach to your health insurance can lead to both financial savings and peace of mind.
5. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): Navigate with Strategy
If you are 73 or older, remember to take out your required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Alternatively, consider a charitable twist by directing your RMDs as a direct donation to a qualifying charity. This not only fulfills your RMD obligations but also provides potential tax savings even if you are taking the standard deduction when you file.
6. Set a Holiday Spending Budget: Festive Finances
As the holiday season kicks into full swing, set a spending budget to avoid unnecessary financial stress. Planning your holiday expenses ensures you can celebrate without compromising your financial well-being. Consider allocating a specific budget for gifts, travel, and festive activities to ring in the new year on a financially positive note.
By incorporating these financial strategies into your December checklist, you're not just managing your money – you're actively shaping a more prosperous and fulfilling future. Cheers to smart financial decisions and a joyful, financially secure holiday season!